Ian Maclay (7 March)
When, in 1982, Ian Maclay took on the job of Managing Director of the Royal Philharmonic, the orchestra was, in his words, ‘on the verge of bankruptcy’. Three years later, things had completely turned around, thanks largely to Hooked on Classics, the multi-million seller for K-Tel Records which put a rhythm accompaniment to the classics. Until then, the Orchestra had received no royalties for its recordings, and Maclay persuaded the executive producer to part with a cheque for half a million pounds. This adventurous spirit, always a part of the RPO’s personality from its foundation by Sir Thomas Beecham in 1946, has been at the heart of Ian Maclay’s philosophy these past four decades, balancing approachability (including concerts at the Royal Albert Hall which reflect Maclay as a kindred spirit with his friend, the impresario Raymond Gubbay) with a roster of principal conductors as distinguished as Antal Dorati, Vladimir Ashkenazy, André Previn, Yuri Temirkanov, Charles Dutoit, and now Vassily Petrenko. This evening promises to be full of insight and anecdote.